Are You at Risk for Hairy Tongue? | Howell NJ Dentist

Welcome to Howell Family Smiles.
How can we help you?

Are You at Risk for Hairy Tongue? | Howell NJ Dentist

Dentist in Howell, NJ

Posted on

You may not realize it, but you could be at risk of developing an unsightly medical condition known as hairy tongue. While it is harmless in most cases, hairy tongue is still an unpleasant ailment. The causes are not always completely known, but practicing good oral hygiene at home and visiting our dental office for cleanings can help prevent the issue. Here’s what you need to know. 

What is hairy tongue? 

With hairy tongue, your tongue may look like its covered in fuzz or hair, but this condition is actually caused by an accumulation of bacteria. The surface of your tongue is covered in small, rough papillae which gives it its rough texture. Overtime, these papillae grow, shed, and are replaced. Occasionally, the older papillae may fail to shed properly. This causes a buildup on the tongue and can cause a hair-like appearance. 

Who is at risk of hairy tongue? 

According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, as much as 13% of the population may have hairy tongue. Anyone can develop the condition, but certain risk factors such as age and tobacco use increase your chances. 

What causes hairy tongue? 

While the exact causes of hairy tongue are not known, there are a variety of factors that can put you at a higher risk of developing the condition. Poor oral hygiene and a diet of soft foods can put you at an increased risk, as a lack of stimulation on the tongue can prevent the shedding of older papillae. Excessive consumption of certain substances, including tobacco, alcohol, coffee, and tea have been shown to contribute to this condition. Dehydration and dry mouth can slow down the tongue’s natural refresh cycle of replacing papillae. 

The best defense against hairy tongue is a regular at-home oral hygiene routine that includes twice daily brushing, flossing, and mouthwash. Visiting our Howell dentist at least twice a year for cleanings can also give us an opportunity to regularly examine your mouth and catch any early signs of hairy tongue.  

If you’re past due for your regular cleaning or are concerned that you might be developing hairy tongue, don’t hesitate to contact Howell Family Smiles for an appointment today.

Howell Family Smiles
Phone: (732) 308-0101
2222 Hwy 9, Ideal Plaza
Howell, NJ 07731

Read Our Howell Dental News

Howell Dentist

Do You Brush Your Teeth Too Much? | Dentist Near Me

April 1st 2024

Brushing your teeth is a vital step in maintaining good oral health. However, is there such a thing as over-brushing?  The American Dental Association recommends you brush your teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day....

Decrease Your Odds of Hypertension | Dentist Howell

March 15th 2024

You may be unaware of how your oral health can be an indicator of your overall health.  The warning signs of systemic health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, can often be found by...

Chew on This: Foods for Healthy Teeth | Dentist in 07731

March 1st 2024

No time to brush or floss your teeth? When brushing or flossing isn’t convenient, you can still keep your mouth feeling fresh by eating certain foods. When you’re on the go or in a hurry,...

Family Dentist Howell NJ
Pay Now